Manage company growth – It might seem ironic that, in these pandemic times, I’m interested in the problems of managing business growth. In reality, in addition to crises like the one we are experiencing, crises can also manifest themselves as a result of the inability to manage extraordinary growth, or rather, its consequences. And so I went to review Greiner’s model, which addresses precisely the issue of crises for which a company must prepare as it grows in size.

The Greiner’s model

The Greiner's model to Manage company growth
The Greiner’s model to Manage company growth


The model is interesting but dated (1972). What no longer satisfies me is the fact that the graphical representation of the model suggests that the crises linked to the growth of the size of a company occur over time according to a pre-established order and that in the same order we are called to find solutions. In reality, a crisis linked to the extinction of the innovative charge of the founders can occur long after the moment in which the size of the company has become such as to require the entry of management who then fails to manage a delegation process correctly. However, it is true that Greiner’s model has the merit of describing the evolution of the growth of companies and the challenges they face with a lucidity and synthesis that has all my admiration.


I tried to redraw Greiner’s model not on a curve, as the author did, but in a diagram in which the time component is lost and the focus is placed on the activity to be performed. I also summarized the scheme further, excluding the components related to creativity and alliances and merging the two themes “Co-ordination” and “Collaboration” into a single element. The diagram should read like this: – if there is Direction and Delegation but Collaboration is missing, focus on Company Culture and Values ​​- if there is Direction and Collaboration but Delegation is missing then the focus must be given to the Organizational Set-up and so on. Sure it’s a stretch, but it responds to the need to keep things simpler. I believe that the result stimulates some interesting reflections.

A new diagram to analyze the growth of companies and manage company growth
A new diagram to analyze the growth of companies and manage company growth

The Venn diagram, for example, suggests that in a company where there is a good level of delegation and collaboration but there is a lack of strong leadership it should be remedied by improving processes … certainly until a new one is found. and true leadership 😉